Its price tag may be relatively low, but it seems that Magix are on a mission to demonstrate that the 12th version of their Music Maker software is anything but short on features.
A 2.76GB install gives you a VST- and DirectX-compatible audio and MIDI sequencer, over 3000 sound loops, 5.1 surround compatibility, seven proprietary synths, podcasting functions, video sequencing with effects, a vocoder and even a harmony recognition algorithm. If you´ve never used a piece of music software before, some of the features listed above probably won´t be of too much interest. In fact, all you´ll really want is a package that´s fun, easy to use and will help you to learn the basics fast.
At first glance, Music Maker 12´s spec sheet seems overwhelming, but fortunately, the drag-and-drop simplicity of the early versions has been kept. The huge number of great-sounding pitch-matched loops could keep beginners happy for ages. Once you graduate from loop sequencing, there´s fun to be had with Music Maker´s proprietary instruments. A few of these, such as the LiViD drumming plug-in and the Voice Synth, are amusing toys, while others, like the Robota drum machine, are potentially useful. However, the Revolta synth is relatively weak, and nowhere near as good as some of the free synths you can download.
Fortunately, the Yellow Tools-developed Vital Instruments (for ‘real´ sounds) are better. It´s clear that Music Maker 12 has been geared for speed: both the Remix Agent and Harmony Agent can help you to get going quickly. In fact, the software will even write a complete song for you, if that´s what you want!
Music Maker 12 is feature-packed, then, but unfortunately, there are some fundamental problems that undermine it. Window management is horrifying, the interface is traumatic, and you´ll often find yourself clicking to no effect. Auditioning a soft synth is irritatingly hard, while the numerous bolt-on applications (such as the Photo Manager) serve only to introduce more clutter and are a waste of time.
Ultimately, it´s hard to recommend Music Maker 12 Deluxe when you can buy Music Studio 12 Deluxe (Magix´s more powerful entry-level application) for the same price. There are plenty of other affordable (and in some cases free) applications around too. At a push, MM12 might be worth a look if all you want to do is arrange some loops, but do you really want to spend £50 just to do that?